June 25, 2024

MLB managers discuss the joy and pain of delivering Opening Day roster news

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — As spring training reaches the finish line, roster decisions come into focus and the pressure mounts for players on the bubble.

“Every night you’re going to sleep wondering if tomorrow’s the day,” said Cleveland manager Stephen Vogt, who spent many springs in roster limbo.

On decision day, an assistant coach typically approaches a player at his locker and tells him to head to the manager’s office. Tigers prospect Justyn-Henry Malloy described it to The Athletic last week as “seeing the Grim Reaper catch your boys.

You’re like, ‘Oh, my God, is it after me next?’”

Malloy was reassigned to minor-league camp late last week.

For the player, it’s a wobbly-kneed walk to the manager’s office. Their heart thumps and mind races, forecasting every possible scenario and recapping every spring feat and failure.

“When you get the, ‘Hey, the manager needs to see you,’” Vogt said, “you go to dark places really quick.”

In recent days, 30 managers have delivered life-changing news to hundreds of players.

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